1. GRANDPARENTS - “EIGHT INCH COP” [MUSIC]

    One of the first Portland bands I was ever exposed to was Grandparents, and they set the bar pretty high. Within the first month of being in town, I got my hands on their Live from the Banana Stand record, and ever since then, it has been a staple of my car’s CD player. Seriously… haven’t switched it out since September. It’s that good.

    Today, we’re lucky enough to be able to feature a track from Grandparents. It’s called “Eight Inch Cop”, and it’s off of last year’s Rigsketball compilation. It’s a bit more overdriven and distorted than previous Grandparents tracks I’ve been exposed to, but it still holds up. Grandparents have undergone a number of line-up changes over the years, so their sound is destined to change a bit, but even with a tumultuous cast, they’ve managed to always put out quality material.

    Grandparents played last Sunday at PDX Pop Now, and it was one of my favorite shows of the weekend. If you missed it, don’t fret — you’ve got a chance to catch them this weekend and then twice in August. This weekend, they’ll be playing the inaugural Deli Brunch Series. It should be an intimate affair. Next month, Grandparents will be playing the PALS Music Festival on August 15th and Mississippi Studios on August 28th. Grandparents are currently working on a record that should be due out sometime this fall, but for now, you can go to their Bandcamp and school yourself in some vintage Grannies recordings. As always, keep up with them on Facebook for all the latest updates, and follow them on Twitter @GrandparentsPdx.

    Clocking in at just under seven minutes, “Eight Inch Cop” is an extensive, expansive track that bounces and growls along. The tempo stays elevated throughout, only taking some slight breaks — the first of which comes a bit over a minute in. At that point the overdriven guitar chords drop out for a bit, revealing an acoustic guitar that feels almost ethereal in comparison. Later on, an organ (more likely a synth that sounds like an organ) is introduced, adding a warbly, wobbly element to the treble. The tune ends with an extended instrumental section, rising, falling, and then rising again to end in a wonderfully distorted crescendo.

    You can find “Eight Inch Cop” as well as the rest of this month’s featured tracks on the free download of the GB! July 2014 Mixtape, the latest in our monthly mixtape series. Come back and get it on July 31!

     


  2. SETTLERS - “PROSKATER” [MUSIC]

    After having a blast this weekend at PDX Pop Now, it’s time to get back to the grind. Don’t worry, though — we have some tunes here to make that grind more tolerable. It’s “Proskater” from Settlers — check it out below.

    Admittedly, I don’t know much about Settlers myself. I haven’t seen them play live (yet), and I can only find a couple songs from them online, but they’re batting a thousand right now, so I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt. It’s sunny, reverb-drenched, beach pop, featuring a generous dose of echo and delay, and big, booming, tom-focused drum patterns. Settlers have a few found-footage music videos available to watch on YouTube — there’s one for "Sky Kings" which revolves around hang-gliding, and then there’s "Proskater" which involves vintage skateboarding clips.

    Currently, Settlers are working on a record, which we’ll probably get to hear later this year. They’re trying to get a small tour together around September/October — you can keep up with that by following them on Facebook. In the meantime, put July 28th (that’s next Monday) down on your calendar as Settlers will be playing with Landlines and Lures at Kenton Club. It should be a killer show. Last but not least, check out Settlers’ website… probably the best band site around, complete with dancing baby.

    "Proskater" opens with a tom-heavy drum pattern before being joined by a hazy, blurry guitar riff, and some echoey, surreal vocal accents. It’s like a faster-paced, psychedelic re-imagining of an early Real Estate tune — like "Let’s Rock the Beach" or something. The main guitar riff is strong enough to carry along the whole tune, and while I kind of wish there were vocals, I can also respect the beauty of keeping this tune instrumental. Really, to me, the focus here is on the drumming — it’s big, in-your-face stuff, really providing the main atmosphere for the tune.

    You can find “Proskater” as well as the rest of this month’s featured tracks on the free download of the GB! July 2014 Mixtape, the latest in our monthly mixtape series. Come back and get it on July 31!

     


  3. ROOFTOP VIGILANTES - “HIT THE WHITE KIDS” [MUSIC]

    Ya boy Jared Brannan is back! Today, he writes words about Lawrence, KS’s own Rooftop Vigilantes. If you missed his column from earlier this month, check it out here. He’s good for a few a month.

    Who doesn’t like a weird adventure? Let’s take a moment to imagine the scenario. Some happenstance circumstance takes you by storm, and before you can gather your wits, you’ve been flung on a wild tangent into the unknown! Mystery fueled by uncertainty. Sign me up.

    Today at Gelatinous Blog, we’re pleased to share Rooftop Vigilantes' own personal Weird Adventure, a four song EP rooted in the exploration of alternative garage rock’s finer foundational elements.

    Sure, I could spend some time pondering Rooftop’s major influences, but opening number "Dinosaur Jr. Jr." cleverly diverts such necessities. The rhythm guitar is compressed and driven, sitting perfectly with an equally smashed drum track. Laden with lovable sustain and feedback, this song accomplishes everything an opening track should, all while clocking in at 1:27. Not bad. The real standout, however, is closer “Hit The White Kids” — more on that below.

    Rooftop Vigilantes’ Weird Adventure can be enjoyed and simultaneously purchased at their Bandcamp site. While they seem to be absent from the Twitterverse, they do occasionally post pertinent information on their Facebook, and hopefully will have a fresh release for our musical consumption before the end of 2014.

    In “Hit The White Kids”, a hooky oldies bass line sits heavy in the mid-frequencies, harkening back to a time when soda fountains and ice cream parlors were the summertime hang spots. A proper bridge offers a pleasing crescendo, followed by some lovely lead slide guitar. Everything is working together here, and by the time you reach the ending fadeout, you’re guaranteed to be daydreaming of a beach sunset viewed from beneath the shade of palm trees (but not in a Jimmy Buffett way).

    You can find “Hit The White Kids” as well as the rest of this month’s featured tracks on the free download of the GB! July 2014 Mixtape, the latest in our monthly mixtape series. Come back and get it on July 31!

     


  4. DAVE MITCHELL of COUCHES [INTERVIEW]

    The other night I got a chance to catch Couches at The Know. They were finishing up a small summer tour that probably qualified as the hottest on record. I mean, Idaho and Montana in July? Eugene, OR, basements with no A/C? Yikes. After the show, I got to sit down and chat with Couches frontman Dave Mitchell. We talked about the inner workings of DIY record labels, the importance of touring, and “slacker rock” as a genre. Check out Couches on Facebook to keep up with their upcoming, 60-show, nationwide Slackin’ Since the 80s tour starting in September, and go grab their California 7” from 20 Sided Records.

    GB: Slacker-rock. What do you think about that title — that genre? Is it fair to call you that?

    DM: Yeah, we like to describe ourselves as that [“slacker rock”] or “soft grunge” which is another term we tried to get going. We’re just lazy dudes — I call it “slacker rock” because we try to simplify the music.

    You guys are finishing up a small tour right now — what was your favorite show from this past tour?

    The first show. We played a house party in Eugene, and that’s the night my tubes blew, but it still sounded rad. It was to a bunch of kids, and it was like 100 degrees — maybe 110 — in this basement. Hot as shit. Everybody was just dripping sweat. Most of the guys had their shirts off — staph infection waiting to happen. But, it was just good energy, and we made like, really good money… at a house party… which is strange. Sold merch. It was just a fun show.

    Awesome!

    Yeah, the first show was good! Usually the later shows are better because you get tighter as you go, but… the heat killed us. [laughs]

    You tour a lot it seems like. Every time I see some Facebook update, it’s always like, “We’re in fucking Pittsburgh!” or some shit, now we’re here, now we’re there…

    Yeah, we try to tour as much as possible. The main reason is cause we hate playing our hometown. I feel like 80% of bands saturate their hometown. They’ll play every two weeks, where bands should be playing once every two to three months in their hometown. Unless they get offered a big show. Cause why are their friends going to go out to every single fucking show every two weeks? That’s my opinion.

    That’s fair.

    And most bands have been bands for like 10 years, and they’re just now touring. We’ve only been a band for like… 19 months, maybe? And tonight was our 147th show. Our goal was to do 200 shows in two years, and I think we’re gonna make it. If we stay on schedule, it’ll be like 212 shows.

    And that’s technically going to be the Slackin’ Since the 80s tour?

    Yeah. It’s a 12”, 9 songs. We were all born in the 80s, so we’ve been lazy since the 80s. We leave September 8th and get back November 8th. 60 dates — the whole country. We’re going south, so it’s gonna be Southwest, Southeast, Northeast, Northwest, and then zig-zagging into the center.

    That must be a bitch, to have to book 60 shows.

    We’re doing it all ourselves, so it’s cool. It’s halfway booked… maybe a little more than that. Just hitting up bands we know, hitting up bookers, plus I use the label.

    Yeah, the label you run is called 20 Sided Records. How old is that?

    I think it’s almost five years old now. I think 2010 was the first year, so it’s four, almost five years old.

    How did that start?

    I was in an old band called Slow Trucks, and we were talking to some decent labels, and the deals were shit, man. Like… shitty. Like, “We’ll press 500 records, and we’ll give you 20 — you can buy them off of us at cost plus five” — because they double the price. And it’s weird. It just wasn’t worth it.

    I was in this real cool group of friends, and the bands were always playing out of Oakland and San Francisco. The bands were all really similar, 90s-sounding, slackerish, grunge rock. Everybody wanted to press records, so we just started a label to make it look professional, like, “Oh, we’re a part of this collective.” I don’t look at it as a label — it’s a collective of friends. If you’re a part of the label, it’s like, “Hey, we’re from here, come through here and play shows.” All the bands on the label press their own stuff and pay for most of it — I just pitch in a little. No distribution. It’s all DIY. No Spotify, no iTunes, no Pandora. That’s all shit that rips bands off. Why am I gonna let a label give me all this money to pay them back? Cause bands don’t make shit on the road. Labels put like $100,000 on a stupid fucking band, and those bands sell out their souls, and they’ll do whatever the fuck they say.

    At 20 Sided we do our own shit, and that’s what it’s all about. Some people think it’s a big label or something — they’ll be like, “Hey, will you put this out?” and I’ll be like, “Yeah, I’m down to do this, but it’s all about you guys.” I only want a little bit to put into local record stores in SF, and then I sell them online, and that’s it.

    Does it ever get shitty?

    All the time. Things can always get worse, but that’s the point of life, the point of being a band — overcoming the shit. And the music industry in general, there’s no money there. We do it for fun. We’re not just playing shows — that’s a bonus of touring for us. We get to meet new people and party with those people and see the countryside. And then it’s like, “Oh yeah, we have to play a show tonight… Damn, we gotta leave this park!”

    Do you tell the bands on 20 Sided about the importance of touring?

    Always. I have an unspoken agreement of, “You need to tour three months out of the year” — which is one month out of every four months. And that’s fucking easy. Tour a week here. Three weeks later, tour a week… three weeks later, do another week. Or wait two months, and do a three week tour. It’s 12 weeks out of the year.

    What’s a weird or funny tour experience you’ve had?

    We just played this 4th of July in San Jose, right before we left on this tour. I was loading my gear out, and I was carrying my amp, and as I come out the front door, I almost stepped in this pile of dog shit. It was on this doormat that was on the grass, and the grass, the doormat, and the shit were all the same color. So as I’m loading into the van, I’m like, “Fuck, I need to go move that doormat cause someone’s gonna step in it, and it’s gonna track through the house, and it’s gonna be gross.” So, as I go back to get it, there’s a group of people already sitting where it’s at. I go over, and sure enough this dude had sat in the dog shit, and he was wearing white shorts. I was like, “Man, I’m so sorry, I think you sat in dog shit, though.” And he was like, “No, I don’t think I did. I smell it, it’s right around here, though.” That show was like 105 degrees at 10pm in San Jose, 4th of July, so we were kind of distraught, but then that happened, and it made our night.

     


  5. NEIGHBORS - “LORETTA” [MUSIC]

    Today, we’ve got our final Camp Daze feature, and it comes in the form of Neighbors, a four piece out of Seattle, WA. It’s riffy, garage pop that evokes thoughts of Pavement, Parquet Courts, maybe even The Orwells at times.

    While I’ve never had a chance to see Neighbors play live, I’ve found myself pulling up their latest record (Will You Please Be Quiet, Please?) online multiple times over the past couple months, which must be a good sign. I particularly dig the guitars, both the tones and the riffs. They play with a lot of distortion but they don’t overdo it. It never gets washed over with noise — the sound they’re going for always shines through. The vocals are also notable, obviously coming from a talented, capable vocalist complete with a touch of cool indifference. There’s some great vocal interplay throughout the record, with call-and-response type vocals (see the second verse of "Power Country" in particular) and distinct harmonies. All in all, the record is a fuller, warmer version of last year’s I Love Neighbors, which is still worth checking out.

    You can grab a digital copy of Will You Please Be Quiet, Please? at Bandcamp or a vinyl version at BADH Records. Neighbors will be part of the ZACC Showcase at Camp Daze, playing at 8:30pm. Tickets for that showcase are $7, or you can grab a festival pass (good for the whole weekend) for $20. Keep up with Neighbors on Facebook, where they tend to post stuff about tours, releases, etc.

    "Loretta" is a tune that doesn’t hold back. It’s very straightforward — no bullshit. The song opens immediately on the first verse, no intro beforehand, and the melody is pretty unconventional. The vocal cadence is infectious, and while it’s unorthodox, it’s so damn catchy. It’s Malkmus-esque. The guitar breaks (first appearing around :35) don’t try to do too much, and they work really nicely with the drum fills. Those parts provide instrumental breaks that are deceptively complex — you can sit there and try to pick them apart, or you can just passively listen, and you’ll probably be satisfied regardless. Either way, the point I’m trying to get across is this: I fucking love this tune.

    You can find “Loretta” as well as the rest of this month’s featured tracks on the free download of the GB! July 2014 Mixtape, the latest in our monthly mixtape series. Come back and get it on July 31!